The Officiant Blog

My thoughts on weddings... the ridiculous to the sublime

From the Silly to the Sublime

January 6, 2016

One of the unique things that I bring to my work as a chaplain is a blend of both the serious and the not-so-serious. I come from a background of faith, which means I have tremendous respect for marriage and its sacred aspects. Having just gotten married myself just eight short years ago (photo of me and my beloved above), I'm still something of a "newlywed," and as such, can really relate to brides and grooms as they experience both the excitement and the stress of planning a wedding.

AND YET, I've always been unafraid to challenge tradition and have a little fun. Rumor has it that I even dressed up as Wonder Woman to officiate a recent wedding held on October 31st!

So... whether your wedding will be a celebration of tradition, or you'd just as well throw tradition out the window, chances are I'M YOUR GAL!!!

Photo courtesy of Rachel Hadiashar

Writing Your Own Wedding Vows

September 1, 2016

I’ve recently had a number of couples decide to write their own vows for their wedding ceremony, and I’ve been blown away by the results! No doubt, it’s a daunting task to sit down and profess your love and make promises to your future spouse that will be read aloud to all your guests, but I’m convinced that, for those willing to take on the challenge, there’s almost no way to fail! The only risks, in my book, are writing something that’s way too short or too long (and a good officiant will see this and help you expand or cut, as needed), writing something wildly inappropriate (which is more often the case with best man/maid of honor speeches, not vows… but again, your officiant can curb this if it happens), or putting it off until the last minute or just not writing them at all (make sure you set an early deadline and have someone hold you accountable for getting them done).

What makes personal vows so special is that they are honest, come from your heart, and are written in your “voice,” something that your partner and your guests are sure to notice and appreciate! Because so much of a wedding ceremony is scripted for you, either following tradition or using the words of the officiant who writes the ceremony for you and your fiancé, writing your own vows is the single opportunity for people to hear directly from you on your wedding day. And people really do sit up and notice. Suddenly, they feel like they’ve been included in a very personal conversation between you and your partner, and they’re thrilled to be able to hear what you have to say on such an important day.

If you’re worried about having to memorize what you’ve written, don’t sweat it. I generally recommend that couples read their vows from a small card or piece of paper. However, if you really want to memorize them, that’s fine. Just have your officiant keep a copy in case you need them.

If you’re worried about getting emotional when you say your vows… well, it may happen, but people will absolutely understand. In fact, it will make the memory of the day even sweeter! Just bring a hanky and ladies, be sure to wear waterproof eye makeup!

You are the one who knows your own heart and knows your fiancé the best… why not write the things you’d like to say on this most important day? Yes, you may be nervous, and no, it won’t be easy… but it will absolutely be worth it! No couple I’ve ever worked with regretted writing their own vows. A few have regretted not writing their own….

My advice for writing your own vows? You can read others’ vows to get a sense of what kind of things to say… but don’t pore over them and don’t try and copy. If you’re going to write your own, write your own.

Find a comfortable place, clear your head, think about your spouse-to-be… and just start to write. Write what you think, write what you feel. Just write. Write first, edit later.

There are basically three types of statements that people make in their wedding vows:

· Storytelling – telling some of the story of how you met and fell in love, capturing the highlights of your relationship. Often the story telling includes statements of surprise (“I never thought…” or “I didn’t expect…”) or, alternately, of knowing (“I knew the first time...” or “I had a feeling…”)… but not always.

· Statements about Your Love – statements telling how this person/how love makes you feel, what difference this person/their love has made in your life, how you look at the future differently now, etc. These are probably the hardest to write… because you think of all the “romantic” things other people have written and said through history. Don’t try and be romantic. Just be real and write about your partner and your love.

· Promises (or Vows) – commitments or promises you are making to your future spouse. These can be lofty (“I will never stop loving you,” “I am yours forever”) or concrete (“I promise to encourage you when times get tough,” “I will always stick up for you and defend you”) or even practical – which usually means a bit of humor (“I will cheer on the Bills with you and console you with a beer when they lose,” “I will always put the toilet roll on the right way – even though there is no right way”).

I generally recommend that each bride or groom write 8-10 “thoughts” (sentences or short paragraphs of sentences) total, including some or all of the three types of statements above. If you only use one of the above kinds of statements, make it the “promises.”

Trust yourself and your ability to write meaningful vows. Just open your heart and write. You really can’t go wrong.

Claudia Meyer is a wedding officiant in Albany, NY who has been marrying couples for over two years. Before this, she worked as a hospital chaplain for ten years. She loves working with couples from all sorts of backgrounds to create a personal ceremony that celebrates their love!

photo courtesy of The Story Photography, Syracuse, Chris Szulwach

Setting the Tone

June 5, 2017

A bride recently asked me, "What do you see as your main responsibility (as the officiant)?" I thought it was a terrific question! Not, "What do you do?" or "What is your job?" but "What do you SEE as your RESPONSIBILITY?"... as in, what do you see as your unspoken aim in all that you do at a wedding? I didn't hesitate to give her my answer... "My main responsibility is setting the tone for your day of celebration!"

You see, while you - the bride and/or the groom - are busy getting ready, getting nervous, getting excited about your wedding day as the time for the ceremony approaches, your guests - all your wonderful friends and family who were fortunate enough to be invited to share this amazing day with you - are arriving, finding their way to their seats, and waiting for the celebration to begin. They won't see you for another 20-30 minutes, and they won't get chance to interact with you for another hour or two.... but they're already forming impressions about how they're going to remember this day. Are they being made to feel comfortable? Are they going to enjoy the whole day, or, as one of my favorite officiants put it, are they getting ready to "sit through the boring part so they can earn a drink at the reception?"

Your officiant is the one who is going to do the talking and your guests are going to spend the next 15-30 minutes listening to her or him.... what is this time going to be like? Is it going to feel like "something obligatory" so everyone can get on to the good part - the party? As an officiant, I have some pretty strong feeling about this.... NO!! Your ceremony should not feel "boring" or "obligatory," and my responsibility is to interact with your guests in such a way as to make sure they relax and enjoy the ceremony experience of your transition from single people to a married couple (because that's exactly what a wedding ceremony is!).

I once went to an outdoor wedding where, due to circumstances I don't totally understand, there were not enough chairs for all the guests. The wedding coordinator was acting a bit miffed ("What are they so upset about? It's only going to be 15 minutes and some of them can stand around the back!".... but don't get me started about that....), and I realized that WE had a problem on our hands. The guests were not happy and this was going to sour the mood of the entire ceremony! I asked if it was ok for me to stand up front and make an announcement, and then I went up front and addressed the guests. I warmly welcomed them, apologized for the lack of chairs (even though it wasn't my fault), thanked them for their patience and flexibility, and reassured them that I would keep things "short and sweet." I also made an announcement (at the request of the bride and groom) that they not take any pictures during the ceremony, and made a small joke out of it by saying, "the bride and groom want to see your beautiful faces, not the backs of your phones." Everyone laughed a bit, relaxed, and the whole tone of the audience changed. It was my responsibility to notice this issue and address it, using my skills and charm... and it made all the difference!

If you hire an officiant who is "all business" and sees their job as just "performing the ceremony," you may be missing out on an important (but invisible to you, the bride or groom) dynamic. I've been doing ceremonies and public speaking for long enough to know that "people won't (necessarily) remember what you said, or what you did, but how you made them feel." And I see this as part of my responsibility at every wedding!​

Photo Courtesy of Caitlin Miller, Caitlin Miller Photography

Why I LOVE Elopements!

June 20, 2017

I vividly recall the first time I heard the word "elope." I was watching a rerun of the TV series Batman (Season 2, Episode 34 "The Catwoman Goeth" ), and I had to ask my mom what the word meant (because of course I thought it was some kind of melon... like canteloupe!)  

Fast forward over 30 years, and I'm performing weddings - and elopements - myself! And when I'm out and about, talking to friends and family, I often get a feel of "aversion" to any mention of an elopement... like "oh, they had to elope... how sad!" or "why couldn't they do a 'regular' or 'real' wedding?" I wonder if you've encountered - or feel - the same??

Perhaps the reaction is due to the history of the word "elope" - since it used to mean "“to run away secretly with the intention of getting married usually without parental consent." I found a great little article on the Merriam-Webster website that talks about the changing meaning of the word "elope." ( Nowadays, an elopement is basically a "small wedding" where the only escape involved is the escape from all the financial and social expectations that come with a modern, full-priced wedding!

I've been marrying people for over three years, and while I did not intially do many elopements, my business has grown, and now about 1/3 of my business is elopements! And I've come to LOVE the elopements that I'm fortunate to be a part of!

So WHY do I love elopements? Let me count the ways...

  • a choice to elope is a choice to boil down your wedding to its most essential parts... the couple, the love, the vows, and a couple of important witnesses
  • an elopement is still special. the day will feel special, you will clearly remember how you felt and those memories will be precious!
  • since everything in an elopement is "concentrated," each part seems to have more "weight" and "meaning." The five minute ceremony is suddenly expressing all the important things you want to say on your wedding day. And the amount of emotion packed into the short period of time that the wedding ceremony takes is amazing!
  • you can include as much or as little (people, dress, flowers, photography) as you want... but the "baseline" is "just the essentials," so you're free to add things that are important to you, but also free to NOT include anything else!
  • elopements are a great equalizer. Not everyone can afford a big wedding, but anyone can marry in an elopement ceremony (for under $200)! I love being a part of such a loving, special event for people from so many different backgrounds...
  • need I even mention the fact that you will save THOUSANDS of dollars and probably a handful of grey hairs from NOT planning "the wedding of the century"... time and money that can be spent on other things you want or need!
  • serious street cred. The two times in my life that I've received an elopement announcement, my reaction was three seconds of, "Oh! I wish I could've been there!" and then a huge, "Good for them! They did it just the way they wanted to!!" Those couples are gods and goddesses to me. They bucked convention and just got the job done.
  • eloping doesn't mean you can't throw a party... I've had a handful of couples who chose to elope (because of various legal or logistical situations) who later chose to do the big wedding, celebrate the wedding in another location, or have a fun "hey! we're married now!" celebration, free from all the traditional wedding expectations.

Eloping may or may not be your thing... but it can be pretty darn special! I LOVE that I get to celebrate such a special moment with so many amazing couples!!

Worried About Rain on Your Wedding Day?

June 25, 2017

So, I don't want to brag, but... in the last two weeks, I have saved three brides from a lot of stress and heartache by recommending - according to the old wives' tale or Irish Catholic tradition, depending on who you talk to - that they place a rosary on the clothesline (or tree, or other outdoor location). Many of you may have heard of this tradition... others of you may be rolling your eyes. But, as my husband (a lifelong Mets fan) is fond of saying, "It's only crazy if it doesn't work." And for the past two weekends... for three weddings... it has worked!!

Tradition has it that if you are concerned about rain (for any occasion, but particularly your wedding day), you should hang a rosary on a clothesline, and it will keep away the rain and ensure that you have good weather on your special day.

I don't know if it's actually God, or just the positive thinking involved in taking such an action, but I can certainly attest to the fact that it does a person good to believe that that can do SOMETHING - that they have some level of control over something that feels ominous and could impact one of the most momentous days of their lives. I can tell you that there was a look of relief - even elation - on these brides' faces when I first saw them on their wedding day. One of them even exclaimed, "The rosary worked!"

When I relayed this story to a wedding guest - who I had met at another event a month prior - she said, rather incredulously, "You believe in superstition? But I thought you were religious? Like a Christian..." My answer? "It's only crazy if it doesn't work!"

So go ahead, buy yourself a rosary and hang it just in case... I'm sure it will do you some good!

photo courtesy of Sarah Wigley of Rob Spring Photography

Telling Love Stories

July 8, 2017

At the heart of being an officiant is telling a couple’s love story

Part of what I love most about officiating is that I get to tell – and help guests to celebrate – a couple’s love story. Now that doesn’t mean recounting the encyclopedic version of how they met and all that’s happened between them… but it means getting to know them and some key elements of what makes their relationship special and unique, and then weaving that story into an enjoyable experience for the ceremony. (I’m really passionate about making ceremonies personal and enjoyable, because there are far too many long-winded less-than-meaningful wedding ceremonies out there!)

I had the privilege of officiating three weddings over the course of one weekend recently, and amazingly, all three couples had stories that centered around timing… and reinforced the notion that “love doesn’t happen until the timing is right.” Jillian and Matt went to the same middle and high schools, but never crossed paths until they met while both working at Panera about seven years ago. Christa and Michael knew each other in high school, but went their separate ways, got married and divorced, and only reconnected recently to find that they were meant to be together. Heather and Greg contacted me two years ago to officiate their wedding, but less than a week before it was to happen, they called the whole thing off. I was pleasantly surprised to hear from them a few months ago, letting me know that they were finally ready to go ahead with a much smaller wedding and that they wanted me to officiate for them. It was a pleasure to get to hear these couples’ stories and celebrate – in both serious and lighthearted ways – the fact that “time” finally brought them together!

We all live our own stories, but rarely stop and think about them as “stories” per se. One of the couples I married had been together for quite a while but, as the bride said, “After 20 years we had never truly heard our story until Claudia told it.” That’s what makes what I do so special and even “sacred” – putting words to a couple’s love story and drawing out the highlights to be celebrated on the occasion of their wedding.

Every couple has a story… who will tell yours?

You're Never Too Old for Love!

July 21, 2017

Last weekend I officiated the most meaningful 10 minute wedding ceremony I’ve ever encountered! Stephen and Paula had both been married before, Paula had three children, and they’d both been divorced for quite a few years. They were both in their 60’s. Like many divorcees, they figured that they’d had their shot at love and would spend the rest of their lives living independently. And then life… or fate… or love… brought them together. And like many slightly older couples, they figured they could just be with each other and not hassle with the logistics of getting married.

And then Paula had an unexpected health crisis which landed her in the hospital, and Stephen was flummoxed! He hadn’t planned for this, and it caused him to take a closer look at his life, and their relationship, and what it all meant to him. Turns out, it meant a lot! So while spending time with her in the hospital, he blurted out, “I don’t want to lose you! Will you marry me?” to which Paula replied, “What are you, crazy?!” They both laughed it off, but a week later, when things had calmed down and Paula was out of the hospital, she said to him, “You know that thing you asked me about, in the hospital? Well the answer is yes.”

Paula and Stephen wanted a simple, short and sweet ceremony. But at some point during the planning process, they decided that they would write “a little something” to share with each other during the wedding.

Stephen began to read his. “Today and every day I promise to love you and give you the respect and love you deserve. Paula in case you didn’t know I love you. I promise to support you. I am proud to have you as my best friend, partner, and wife. Paula, I give you my hand, I give you my trust, I give you my love. Paula, I am the luckiest man in the world. I would not see myself growing old with anyone else…”

Paula read hers in reply, “Steve, I wonder if sometimes you wonder why I said yes to you to get married this late in life. I want to marry you to solidify our love. To shout out to the world how much I treasure our love and patience and how until the day I die, we will both be there for each other. That’s why I want to marry you and I’m here today with great joy and love in my heart.”

Let me tell you. There was not a dry eye in the house! Short and sweet, but heartfelt and beautiful. Wow.

Whether you choose to marry or not, make sure you appreciate the people in your life that you love. Tell them how you feel. You never know how much it will mean to them! And remember… you’re never too old for love!

Things to Think About Before Asking 

Your Friend to Marry You...

August 16, 2017

Planning your wedding has undergone tremendous changes in the last 10-15 years… it’s almost impossible to start the process without noticing the HUGE shift toward “DIY” and the hands-on approach that has swept through the industry. And in many ways, this trend is a great thing… couples are better able to put their own “stamp” on things, from unusual décor, to custom drinks, food choices, and desserts, and even your own #hashtag to promote your wedding! But some things have not changed, like time-honored traditions and family expectations. And unless you’re eloping or getting married in your backyard (which are fun and legitimate choices!), family and guests arrive at a wedding with certain expectations, namely, that things will run smoothly, be professionally handled, and that they will enjoy themselves celebrating your happy day!

One of the biggest changes to weddings is the fact that you can now be married by your friend or family member who isn’t a Justice of the Peace or religiously-ordained Minister! Popularized by the Friends episode where Joey married Monica and Chandler (in 2001), the “have your friend get ordained online” trend has grown and now accounts for anywhere between 17 and 40 percent of weddings, depending on which study you look at ( The Universal Life Church boasts that it has ordained over 20 million people worldwide ( ), including many famous people and Hollywood stars. Personally, I am a supporter of more people being ordained to perform weddings, especially given that many couples today aren’t affiliated with a church or religious organization, but still want something more personalized than a civil ceremony. But as a person who (for the record, was ordained online) has performed weddings for dozens of couples over the last three years, I have some cautionary advice for any couple that wants to ask a friend (or family member) to marry them. I would not have known any of this before I began performing weddings myself! First and foremost,

It’s not as easy as it looks.

Getting up in front of a crowd – whatever the size – and speaking for 15-20 minutes (the length of most personalized ceremonies) can be daunting… especially when the ones getting married are friends or family! I can’t tell you how often I coach nervous guests who will be doing a short reading, or wedding party members getting ready to deliver their speech at the reception. I’ve often heard them say,” I can’t enjoy the day until I get this speaking part over with, because I’m so nervous about how it will go!” Do you really want to ask a friend or family member to take on that role, putting the spotlight on them and almost surely meaning they can’t fully enjoy the day? (the same could be said of asking a friend to take pictures or play the music at your wedding… but I’ll let the photographers and DJs address those issues…) Even if they’re able to overcome nerves, I would ask if they are experienced public speakers?


Leading a ceremony is a very different thing than reading a script… a good officiant is able to connect with the audience (while helping the couple to relax through the ceremony!), change their delivery based on dynamics of the situation (e.g. smoothly recover if something goes wrong or off-plan), and ensure that the ceremony is enjoyable for everyone.

No small matter is the fact that the requirements for marriage licenses and ceremonies vary state-to-state, and even county-to-county. If your friend or family member has not performed weddings before, you run the risk of their (online) ordination not being recognized if they have not correctly researched the local requirements. You wouldn’t want to find out after the fact that your marriage is not valid! For example, I live in Upstate New York, but am aware that anyone officiating a wedding in NYC must register with the City of New York to perform a valid marriage, and I recently officiated a wedding in Massachusetts, but first had to file for permission (as an “out-of-state clergy”) from the Secretary of the Commonwealth, otherwise the wedding would not have been legal. For this reason alone, you probably want to hire someone who knows about marriage regulations – a professional officiant.

Finally, something that is not so obvious but becomes very apparent at many small or “DIY” weddings is that, unless you have hired a wedding or “day of” coordinator (which, if you’re working with a limited budget, you probably did not), your officiant is usually the one who will run the rehearsal, prepare the wedding party to enter, and make sure all the elements of the ceremony happen as they’re supposed to. Not only is your officiant the “emcee/host” of the ceremony, they are often the director, stage manager, and circus ringleader! Weddings are no small productions… and things often get pretty chaotic just before the ceremony begins, with everyone getting ready, feeling nervous, and looking for direction about when and how to start. You really want someone who’s organized, calm, and is completely comfortable with leading people through a performance – because, at its very core, that’s what a wedding ceremony is!

So, the ideal candidate to perform a wedding ceremony is an experienced public speaker or performer, who is calm, organized, and capable of leading others through a ‘choreographed’ performance, and who is familiar with local (to where you are being married) laws and regulations regarding weddings and marriage licenses.

Most couples who choose to have a friend (or family member) perform their wedding do so because they want a personal connection – they want someone who knows them personally to have the honor of legally marrying them. I understand this motivation, and it’s such a novelty that a personal connection can legally do this for you! But I would suggest that a good, experienced wedding officiant can get to know you and create a ceremony that is just as personal as your friend could, and can do it with the professionalism and experience that will ensure a smooth, legal event that everyone can really enjoy!

Couples also choose to have a friend marry them because they can save some money by doing so. As someone who got married not long ago and did it on a small budget, I totally understand this. But you need to weigh the importance of money saved against how important it is for things to run smoothly without a lot of your involvement on wedding day, and for you to not be stressed about the ceremony. If you happen to have a personal connection with someone who has all the above-mentioned skills, congratulations! Go ahead and ask them to marry you! But if you’re unsure about your friend’s skill in any of the above areas, shop around and find a professional who can get to know you personally and provide a professional level of service that you will both appreciate and be able to relax and enjoy on your big day!

Claudia Meyer is a wedding officiant in Albany, NY who has been marrying couples for over three years. Before this, she worked as a hospital chaplain for ten years. She loves working with couples from all sorts of backgrounds to create a personal ceremony that celebrates their love!

Your Officiant:  Writer-Coach-Performer

March 22, 2018

You know how some job descriptions include a statement like "other duties as assigned"?  Well, the job description of a Wedding Officiant includes much more than just reading a ceremony and getting you to say "I do."  I've found that good officiants have at least three very different responsibilities:  Writer, Coach, and Performer.

A good officiant spends time getting to know you as a couple, learning your story, finding out your preferences for a personalized ceremony, and then sitting down and weaving some magic by turning all that into a memorable ceremony!  Sure, there are "sample ceremonies" online, but do you really want to say "I do" to some generic script that says nothing about you?!  Your ceremony shouldn't be the "price of admission" you have to pay to enjoy yourself at the reception.* Your wedding ceremony IS the wedding!  It's the one chance to speak about and celebrate this love that you've found. Why make it any less special than all the other carefully chosen elements of your big day?  

I'll never cease to be amazed at how nervous some brides and/or grooms get right before their wedding.  I'm not talking cold feet, I'm just talking about the realization that THIS IS IT... all you've ever hoped and dreamed about when you thought of getting married is about to unfold, and suddenly you're not sure where to stand or what to do or if you're even going to be able to get the words out!  It's both wonderful and terrifying at the same time.  A good officiant knows how to read your mood and coach you by doing whatever it takes to calm you and get you ready to walk out there with a smile and get married!  Your officiant is your "sherpa,"** the one who will literally guide you through the ceremony and make sure everything goes smoothly.  Why entrust this job to anyone who you aren't sure can do this for you?

Finally, your wedding ceremony is essentially a "love roast," and you and your partner are the ones whose love is being roasted!  Most of the words are about you, but are spoken by others - mostly, your officiant.  A good officiant is really comfortable speaking in front of others, and they have the gift of making their words enjoyable to listen to.  A great officiant will even ad lib if needed, responding to any unique things that happen during the wedding (the flower girl dumps her flowers or the bride starts laughing uncontrollably) and keeping things on track while not sounding stiff.  Why ask someone to perform your wedding if they aren't comfortable or experienced performing?

Here's hoping your wedding ceremony goes smoothly, is enjoyable, and gets your celebration started off the right way, thanks to hiring a great officiant!

*thanks to Han Hills, Wilmington Wedding Officiant, for this great description!

**thanks to Minister Marie Burns Holzer, "Let's Get Married By Marie," from Riverside, CA, for this concept!

Claudia Meyer is a wedding officiant in Albany, NY who has been marrying couples for over four years. Before this, she worked as a hospital chaplain for ten years. She loves writing, coaching, and performing ceremonies that celebrate her couples' unique love stories!

Rituals:  Rich Expressions

August 7, 2018

Have you ever witnessed a handfasting, unity candle or sand, wine blending or some other sort of modern "ritual" at a wedding?  What was your reaction?  Personally, I think a well-chosen modern ritual can add a nice touch to a ceremony, reflecting the personality and tastes of the couple and encouraging everyone to experience and think about the meaning of the wedding in new ways.

I believe that rituals can be rich and powerful symbols, because they engage other senses than just sight and hearing, and thus tap into a different part of our brains than words do.  They often make a lasting impression because they are new and creative, shaking up our expectation of what usually happens at a wedding ceremony.  And I'm almost always a fan of shaking things up! 

Because rituals involve tangible objects and physical movement, they engage us more wholly.  And because their meaning is not literal but symbolic, they engage our thought, imagination, and memory in very different ways than the words that usually make up 95% of ceremonies.  They allow both the couple and the guests to actually engage with what's going on, and they have the possibility to leave a rich impression on all involved.

I think particularly in the digital age in which we live, when we experience "information overload" on a regular basis, creating ceremonies that engage and do not bore guests is essential.  I'm passionate about creating an "antiboring ceremony" for every couple I marry!  Engaging rituals can make a lasting and different impression, and can serve as a unique expression of your marriage celebration!  #antiboringceremony  #antiboringofficiant  #antiboringcelebrant

Claudia Meyer is an antiboring wedding officiant in Albany, NY who has married couples for over four years. Before this, she worked as a hospital chaplain for ten years. She loves getting to know her couples' unique love stories! and suggesting rituals that can celebrate their love!

Reflections on 100 Weddings

September 10, 2018

This past weekend I married my 100th couple.  It's a milestone I'e been looking forward to, and it's allowed me the chance to look back on these couples and their "big day," and think about that "crazy little thing called love."

Love really is a miraculous thing. I always ask couples that I’m going to marry to tell me a bit about how they met, how they fell in love, and how they knew that the other was “the one” – “their person.” After interviewing one hundred couples, I never cease to be amazed. Everyone has their own story, but there’s always a spark of something miraculous, something other-worldly, something that can’t be explained by logic alone but that is clearer and surer than anything they’ve ever known. 


A wedding is both an incredibly private and intimate moment, and yet is also this public declaration that you want to be with this person for the rest of your life. Whether you’re religious or not, a wedding is a sacred event in the sense that it “inspires awe and reverence.”

Marriage is the ultimate statement of hope and faith in the face of a cynical and downtrodden world. Instead of continuing to trudge on alone, you’ve found something that sparks new life and new possibilities in you, and you’ve decided that it’s worth the risk. The risk of being vulnerable, the risk of being held accountable for becoming the best you that you can, the risk of binding your life and your future to another… all for the hope of new insights, new comfort, and new growth that you couldn’t possibly have known on your own.

I know I'm looking forward to the next 100 weddings I'll perform!!

Claudia Meyer is an antiboring wedding officiant in Albany, NY who has married couples for over four years. Before this, she worked as a hospital chaplain for ten years. She loves getting to know her couples' unique love stories and telling them as a part of their wedding celebration!

Top 5 Reasons to Rehearse Before Your Wedding

November 7, 2018

I'm often asked by couples if a rehearsal is really necessary before a wedding.  If you have any sort of a wedding party (larger than two witnesses), if you're inviting more than 20 guests, and/or if there is any sort of action or movement during the ceremony (entrances, exits, candles, giving of roses, etc.), my answer is always YES! A rehearsal may feel like a perfunctory obligation , or a boring component to an otherwise fun celebration, but I find there are at least 5 good reasons to rehearse your wedding ceremony (and to do it the day before the wedding, if at all possible):

1.  A rehearsal officially "kicks off" the wedding celebration.  It's often the first event your immediate family and wedding party arrive for, and it's a chance for everybody to meet each other and start getting to know each other for the day-or-more celebration in front of you.  It can be a great "ice-breaker" and starts the weekend off with a purposeful activity.

2.  You get to practice the "mechanics" and movement of the ceremony.  Although it may sound simple on paper or in your head, getting people to line up and enter in the right order at the right time can be challenging.  If you don't practice and then add in the nerves and anxiety of a wedding day to the mix, you may just have a hot mess on your hands!  Walking through what will happen during the ceremony helps everyone feel less anxiety and know what to expect on the big day.

3.  Rehearsing allows everyone to get comfortable with your officiant and/or wedding coordinator, who will be directing and guiding you through the ceremony on the big day.  That way, if they forget some direction, they know and trust the person who can tell or direct them, and everyone feels less nervous.

4.  A rehearsal is a great chance to come up with and ask any last minute questions about the ceremony.  The logistics of when to hand off the bouquet, how the rings will be presented, etc. can be ironed out at rehearsal, and by practicing the movement, you often think of new questions.  Once they're answered, you can relax at the actual ceremony.

5.  An often overlooked benefit of the rehearsal is that it gives you a preview of the emotions you're going to feel during the wedding ceremony.  Until you're actually walking down the aisle, saying your vows, and exchanging rings, you won't realize how weighty and wonderful these moments are.  Rehearsing them the day before gives you a glimpse of the feelings you're going to experience, and helps you to prepare for them.  Many couples tell me that the reality of getting married didn't hit them until the rehearsal, and it made them more aware of - and able to fully feel and appreciate - the significance of the event.

Make the opportunity to rehearse your wedding ceremony!  it will be time well-invested and help your big day to go more smoothly!

Claudia Meyer is an antiboring wedding officiant in Albany, NY who has rehearsed ceremonies and married over one hundred couples! Before this, she worked as a hospital chaplain for ten years. She loves getting to know her couples' unique love stories and telling them as a part of their wedding celebration!

photo courtesy of Eric Whin/Experience Events

It's the Little Things

March 4, 2019

Sometimes it's the little things that make all the difference... and you don't always know this until you've experienced it.

Take a look at the photo.  What do you see?  A backdrop of mountains, a beautiful lake, a decorated pergola with hints of fall colors, and a happy couple enjoying their first married kiss.  What do you NOT see? An awkward minister/officiant/friend getting in the way of an iconic moment of their wedding day by standing there after saying, "You may now kiss!"  Unless your wedding officiant has done a hundred or so weddings, s/he might not know to step out of the way when you kiss, and then will you have him or her awkwardly included in your momentous photo for the rest of your life!

Sure, you can ask your friend to marry you or save some money by hiring the cheapest option to "make it legal," but if you want your wedding ceremony to be smooth and stress-free, you probably want to hire a professional.

Yes, weddings can be expensive.  And I believe that it's good advice to "decide what's most important to you" and spend most of your money on those items.  And perhaps your ceremony isn't a top priority for you and your fiance.  But if it is, then it will be worth your while to research your options and hire someone who has the experience to make your ceremony, and the photos that will come from it, really good.

Some of the other "little things" that experienced, professional officiants know how to handle:

  • running a helpful rehearsal that leaves everyone feeling good, and not stressed, about the ceremony
  • last minute questions about wedding traditions or protocol
  • anticipating unusual things that could happen (sudden rainstorm, unruly flower girl or ring bearer, dropped rings, power outage, etc.) and responding helpfully
  • nervous, fainting, or intoxicated bride, groom, or member of the wedding party
  • guests taking pictures during your "unplugged ceremony"
The wedding ceremony may only be "20 minutes of your whole wedding day," but in the hands of an inexperienced officiant, those 20 minutes can seem like hours and start your wedding day off in a less than ideal manner.  Professionals bring years of experience, hundreds of weddings, and anywhere from 8-12 hours of preparation to every wedding they perform. And they know how to handle all the "little things."

Claudia Meyer is an experienced wedding officiant in Albany, NY who has  married over one hundred couples! Before this, she worked as a hospital chaplain for ten years. She loves getting to know her couples' unique love stories and telling them as a part of their wedding celebration!

photo courtesy of Winding Roads Photography

Wedding Plans on Hold...?

March 23, 2020

I want  to address some of the uncertainty swirling around us these days. It’s kind of mind-boggling how we’ve gone from “normal” to “who knows what” in just over a week.

Covid-19. Corona virus. Pandemic.  Several weeks ago, most of us had never heard of these words.  Now they're changed our lives as we know it.

Many of you are in the midst of planning your wedding – what is supposed to be the best – and happiest – day of your life. And now this cloud of uncertainty hangs over the next few weeks and months. I want you to know that I’m really sorry for the impact that this is having on you and your plans.

I am first and foremost a Chaplain, which means that I care deeply about you and what’s happening in your life.

You may need to cancel, downsize, or postpone your wedding. There may be no way around this... and it really stinks!!

I encourage you to reach out to your "team" - the professionals you've hired to handle your wedding, and also your trusted friends & family.  Decide what's most important to you, figure out what your options are, and then make a "Plan B."

If you’re invested in getting married, but are put in a position where you cannot (now) have the celebration you planned, talk to your officiant (or friend/family member that you've asked to marry you) and see if you can arrange for a small, (socially-distanced) legal ceremony to GET YOU MARRIED.  Perhaps you can even keep your original date, so your legal anniversary will always be the date you had picked!  You can then relax a bit and postpone or plan a kick-ass celebration once this crisis is over. (Not having to call it a "Wedding" opens up all sorts of fun possibilities for the celebration!  My hubby and I had a small, family wedding and later planned a "Celebration BBQ" with a huge guest list, where we even has a slide show of our beautiful, tiny ceremony!) 

If you are local to the Capital District/Saratoga area of NY, and you need someone to legally marry you in the next couple of months, reach out and let me know!  Click here to schedule a quick phone call with me!  I'm offering a "compassionate rate" for those impacted by the current crisis and even have a photographer ready to capture your ceremony!

I'm also offering free consultations for you or a friend (who might be marrying you) and providing simple ceremony scripts to GET YOU MARRIED.  Let's connect by phone and make it happen!

I am in the business of helping people to embrace and celebrate the significant moments of their lives, and that means that I am deeply committed to helping everyone who's stuck get through this challenge.

Sending you calming, peaceful, optimistic thoughts from my home to yours. Let me know where you’re at and how I can help you.

Take good care of yourselves and each other! We WILL get through this time!

Claudia Meyer is an experienced wedding officiant in Albany, NY who has been marrying couples for six years! Before this, she worked as a hospital chaplain for ten years. She loves helping people to embrace and celebrate the significant moments of their lives, and also cope with and get through the challenging times.

Image is a close-up of a super cute Lily Girl Paper product from Etsy. (